Ethical, sustainable, conscious, eco… Even the language that surrounds the realm of clothes and shoes that haven't been produced irresponsibly is enough to confuse the most inquisitive style trooper. What is sustainable but not eco? What could be ethical but not conscious? Are these even valid questions? It's a complete minefield for designers, brands, buyers and consumers alike.
The daunting landscape may be one of the reasons you've never pursued the idea wholeheartedly within your own wardrobe; maybe vintage shopping is your planet-friendly route in or perhaps you always make sure you make long-lasting investment purchases rather than diving recklessly into fast fashion. But I understand why you may have struggled up to this point because I have too.
Even with some know-how and press releases flying into my inbox from eco brands across the world, until now, I have felt that being conscious alone wasn't enough to break through: Each piece has to be just as gorgeous as anything else. Let's not beat around the bush—design should never be the second motivation; a product's aesthetic will always be a priority for the majority of style-savvy consumers out there. What I hope is that the added benefit of consciousness can become a normal but wonderful bonus on top of an already awesome purchase.
@monica_dlv; PICTURED: Mango Committed dress and bag on Monica Ainley de La Villardière.
A few years on from the initial eco-fashion boom, and I bring good news: Brands (new and old) are really stepping up to the bar, offering more "aware" wares that are directional too. There are also two particular UK e-commerce sites that will support the moves you want to make: Always check Reve en Vert and Antibad Store. So without further ado, discover and shop the 36 best ethical fashion brands I rate.
best sustainable, conscious and ethical fashion brands: Proud Mary
This L.A.-based brand has doing good at the core of its business, so this season, the brand is partnering with The Downtown Women's Center and is looking to support homeless women by looking to the future and upskilling.
VereVerto's convertible handbags (and particularly the bumbag styles) have understandably been fast adopted by the Insta set. The pieces are made out of Spanish leather—a bi-product of the food industry and known for its longlasting qualities.
From sustainable manufacturing through to sourcing responsible components and keeping much of the production close to HQ in New Zealand, Maggie's high-fashion designs prove that ethical need not mean frumpy.
Ethical jewellery handcrafted by artisans and powered by an innovative new supply chain technology, this San Francisco–based brand creates the kind of jewellery you'll wear every day and be very proud to do so.
Ninety Percent is a premium line full of the updated basics your wardrobe has been missing this whole time. And what's more is that it shares 90% of the profits made back to the manufacturers and a host of charities. There's also the opportunity for consumers to help decide where the money goes. Ingenious.
The straw bags you saw all over social media last summer now come in even more varieties from the lifestyle store Wood/Grey: where everything is sourced with sustainability at the forefront of each brand.
Mara Hoffman's exciting clothes are matched by her many exciting commitments to sustainability—you can see all the moves the American designer is making towards the future on the brand's website. It's mighty impressive.